In the spring of 2008 after the MidAtlantic Full Size Jeep Club Spring Fling at Rausch Creek I decided that I wanted to get an FSJ to use for only off-roading. I had been using my bone stock 1991 Grand Wagoneer as both a semi off-roading vehicle and as a daily driver. This really limited what I felt comfortable trying on the trails. I made up a wish list of what I wanted:
ē A FSJ that would start, run and stop when I wanted it to
ē A FSJ that had all of the body panels and a complete interior
ē I liked the idea of a pickup truck but would have been OK with a Cherokee or Wagoneer
ē It had to be very inexpensive
I started looking in all of the likely places; Craigslist, the for sale section of the IFSJA.org and asking everyone I knew if they knew of a FSJ that would fit my needs. After looking at a few FSJs and ruling them all out for one reason or another I was just about to give up hope when I got a call from Mike Herrschaft one Friday in August and he said ďIíve got your truckĒ. Mike had been helping me in my quest for another FSJ and knew what I was looking for. Coincidently this was the weekend of our 2008 Jeep-In. I was in the middle of packing my camping gear into my Grand Wagoneer and getting ready to head out to Atison Campgrounds. Naturally I rushed over to his house and saw sitting on a trailer a blue (well blue and rust) 1980 J10.
It had a few dents and bruises but it didnít look bad at all considering that it was almost 30 years old. It still had the original wheels and hubcaps and all of the body panels. Sure there were a few rust holes in the bedsides and grill and front bumper were well worn and bed was covered in hay but it looked pretty complete. The interior was a bit sketchy. The bucket seats were both there but really worn out, the floor boards looked like Swiss cheese and the steering column was broken. The dashboard was a filthy mess but it was all there. I could barely see through the windows because of the dirt but again they were all there and it even had the 3 pieces rear window. The door panels were pretty well beat but the window cranks worked. The transmission and transfer case shifters were there and even had original shift knobs on them. Beneath the hood rested a 6 cylinder engine with an aftermarket intake manifold and a Holley 2 barrel carb. All the parts and pieces seemed to be there although they were all covered with bits of hay. It was a thing of beauty, something that only a FSJ guy could love. It really was a Jeep Thing and I did understand.
Mike had rescued it from his cousinís junkyard down in South Jersey. He and his son were there getting some parts for a project they were working on and grabbed it right before it was scheduled to go to the crusher. It had been dropped off there because it was old and the transmission was locked into gear. Mike and his son were going to winch it onto a trailer to bring home and decided to just see if it would start. They dropped a battery in and it cranked right up. Mike drove it onto the trailer and drug it home. He figured that if I didnít want it he could part it out.
Now let me tell you from the start, I am not a very talented mechanic. Taking on a project like this is a huge undertaking for me. I donít have room at my house to store it, donít have a shop to work on it in and only have a limited number of hand tools. Just like everyone else in these difficult economic times my budget for toys is not very big. Like all of you my time is stretched pretty thin too between work, home and kids/grandkids there just arenít enough hours in the day.
If I was to take this project on I knew I needed help; lots and lots of help. Mike told me that he would help me work on the truck and I could keep it at his place while I was working on it. Knowing that I would only have a few hours at a time on weekends to work on this I hoped to get the JYD up and running in a few months.
With those 2 major roadblocks out of the way I decided to move forward with what has become the Junkyard Dog.
Over the last 2 weekends in August I went over the systems in the JYD and made up a punch list of things to do. Mike and I pulled to top of the transmission off, the gear oil seemed to be clean and nothing looked broken. We moved the gears around with a screwdriver and they seemed to work fine so we just re-installed the top. We put an old boat battery in it and cranked it up and drove around Mikeís property. Drove it through high and low range and 1st through 3rd gear. All was well. All the lights worked except one, the brakes worked, power steering fluid was low. The temp and oil gauges work but no idea if they are accurate, not sure about amp or fuel gauge. The truck had oil in it, very dirty oil. No idea if the speedometer worked. So far so good.
The work begins: degreased the engine and transmission, removed the broken driver side mirror and smashed grill. Removed valve cover (very clean inside) and after cleaning it with carb cleaner replaced the valve cover gasket. Did a compression test, # 4 cylinder is a bit low but within limits. Replaced spark plugs and wires, along with a new cap and rotor. Changed oil and new filter. Oil pressure held steady at idle 25PSI. Both temp and oil gauge work. Replaced crankcase breather and hose, replaced air cleaner and PCV valve and installed new PCV grommet. Replaced broken taillight bulb. Replaced fuel filter and fuel line from pump to carb. Replaced vacuum line from distributor to carb. Installed windshield washer fluid jug and hose to windshield. Put in 2 gallons of gas. Picked up a steering column from Art Johansen.
Drained radiator anti-freeze was green and clear, no evidence of rust. Replaced upper and lower radiator hoses and thermostat, installed new radiator cap and put in new anti-freeze. Holds steady temperature. Met with Pete Dacuk and picked up steering column from Doug Lallyís old Cherokee. Replaced gas cap and drive belts. Removed carb for re-building. Mike and I went to the junkyard and got front seats from a 1995 Honda Passport to be installed later. Removed front & rear diff covers and cleaned diffs with brake cleaner. Painted diff covers with anti-rust and Rustolem high gloss black paint. Installed fuel pressure regulator.
Installed front diff cover with new gasket and filled with 90wt gear oil. Put in 2 gal of gas. Welded rear diff replaced gasket and filled with 90wt gear oil. Started painting the truck with Rustolem anti-rust a few cans at a time. Re-built carb (this took a while since Mike & I did it wrong twice). Removed spare tire carrier from underneath the bed.
Replaced rear brake shoes and wheel cylinders. Rear axle hubs are good and tight, no leaks. Replaced rear shocks. Replaced rear wheels with white wagon wheels from Jack the Jeep. Cold weather gave me a chance to find out that the heater and defroster both work.
Total expenses for 2008 $731.90
Had pneumonia didnít work on Junkyard Dog at all due to illness and cold weather.
Not a lot of work got done, still recovering from pneumonia. Removed front shocks, brakes & brake rotors. Disassembled front hubs. Removed front sway bar. Test fitted Rhino Grill. Painted front clip with Rustolem anti-rust. Accidently punched a hole in radiator almost 3Ē from the top.
Removed radiator. Had front rotors turned. Installed front shocks. Cleaned and degreased and re-built and reinstalled front hubs. Installed front brake rotors and new pads. Removed front wheels and tires from Jack the Jeep to be used on the Junkyard Dog. Removed, repainted and re-installed glove box door. Installed passenger side view mirror that I got from the junkyard off of a 1983 Nissan pickup. Installed Rhino Grill and Pie Plates. Painted hood and front passenger side of truck with Rustolem anti-rust.
Changed fluid in transmission and transfer case. Replaced heater hoses and positive battery cable. Replaced bolt from ground cable on inner fender well that goes to negative battery cable. Switched driverís side window crank with one from Jack the Jeep. Replaced bad radiator with one from Jack the Jeep. While radiator was out of Junkyard Dog I removed Rhino Grill so that I could install bolts for pie plates. While all of this was going on I gave the pieces and parts from the 2 steering columns I got plus a new ignition cylinder that I got from BJís to Mike Sheeks so he could rebuild it.
Installed Jeep badge on Rhino Grill. Installed plugs to block off automatic transmission cooler in radiator. Filled radiator, good news no leaks. Replaced steering stabilizer. Replaced fuel pump and hose from hard fuel line to pump. Continued painting truck with Rustolem anti-rust. Removed and replaced steering wheel and column using re-built parts. Completed Ammeter bypass, Installed driverís side view mirror. Replaced door panels with black and gray panels from Jack the Jeep.
June 2009 through September 2009
Didnít work on the Junkyard Dog at all. I injured my back and was physically unable to do anything.
With the help of some of the members of the MidAtlantic Full Size Jeep Club I got a lot done. We held a couple of Wrench-a-Thons and removed and replaced the floor pans. Coated the floor pans with 3 coats of bedliner. Removed the square headlights and retrofitted them with round headlights and installed headlight surrounds to complete the Rhino look. Both high and low beams work. Removed all of the brackets on the front fascia from original grill. Rhino Grill install is now complete. I finished painting rear fenders and tailgate with Rustolem anti-rust. We retrofitted the driverís side seat from the 1995 Honda Passport into the Junkyard Dog.
With the help of Mike Sheeks I removed the radio from Jack the Jeep and installed in into the Junkyard Dog. Installed new radio antenna, radio works fine. We also completed the steering column installation, everything works. Installed Tach on steering column and gauge panel with Volt and Oil Pressure gauges and wired the lights from the gauges to the headlight switch.
Between the weather and the holiday I didnít get any work done on the truck. I did apply for a New Jersey Title and received it with no problems. This was a huge step in the process.
Total expenses for 2009 $502.90
Total expenses for 2008 $731.90
Total expenses $1234.80
With Mike Sheeks helping we got all the electrical installation completed. Temp gauge is now installed and working. We ran a power line from the battery to lighted switch on the dash then to an accessory fuse block that we installed in the cab under the dash. I now have 5 powered, switched and fused lines for future electrical requirements. Used 1 of those lines to power a 12 volt power supply for running GPS. Re-installed shift boot for transfer case and transmission. Replaced right vent handle. Assembled a first-aid kit to keep in the truck. Noticed that driverís side view mirror is broken. Mike Herrschaft modified passenger seat bracket from 1995 Honda Passport and installed it into the truck. I changed lug nuts and replaced windshield wipers. Got approved for Collector Car Insurance. Traded an old but good condition replacement top from a Wrangler for a used truck box. Mike Sheeks and I installed it by bolting through the bed rails. We also worked on the tailgate, works better now but still needs to be tweaked.
Applied for and got New Jersey Historic Plates ďQQ79001Ē. What a huge deal, legal to be on the streets and no inspection required. Took it on the road for the 1st time, ran terrible seems to be starved for fuel. Filled gas tank and put in a bottle of Yellow Heet (fuel conditioner) letís see if that helps. Replaced rear driver side turn signal bulb and broke lens cover while doing it!. Drove the truck home to load it up for the Snowball Fun Run
Snowball Fun Run
Met at the Atision Ranger Station for the MidAtlantic Full Size Jeep Club 2010 Snowball Fun Run. Wheeled through Wharton State Forest. Lots of mud, ice and snow. Truck ran fine most of the day. At one point the transmission locked up and Mike and I had to take the cover off and move the shift forks around to get it going again. Starter stopped working and had to bump start it for the rest of the day. By the time I got it back to Mikeís place the starter worked again, will have to remove it and try cleaning it out the Pine Barrens Goo to see if that will fix it. The Junkyard Dog was great off-road. Locked up rear was amazing, I went through stuff that I would never have tried with the Grand Wagoneer. Need better tires for sure. Wheeled from 100-1700. Had a great time.
To view pics of my Junkyard Dog build please go to:
1980 J10 Junkyard Dog pictures by MAFSJC - Photobucket
Still lots to do but for now it's legal and running.